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Beacon Screentime Totals, and Thoughts

 Well now, that was a big improvement over last week.  Of course, I'm not sure how much that says considering what a flaming pile of poop I thought last weeks episode was.

Overall, I'd say Beacon was a solid episode that had some very good moments, and scenes, and performances, but also had a few problems.

Anyway, we'll get to that, first we make with the totals:

Beacon, running time 41m, 32s

Clark 16m, 5s (his season low thus far)
Lois  10m, 46s
Tess  9m, 43s
Oliver  6m, 16s

Chloe 8m, 27s
Martha Kent  13m, 39s
Lionel Luthor  12m, 52s
Alexander  11m, 28s

Year To Date (# of eps)

Clark  280m, 10s (13)
Lois  221m, 49s (13)
Tess  97m, 33s (10)
Oliver  100m, 39s (11)

Chloe  34m, 22s (5)
Lionel Luthor  24m, 21s (2)



Oh, he did Martha, he did...

Well, as I said, Beacon was a really step up from last week.  I think the first thing that struck me was just what an improvement the script was.  The dialogue was blissfully short on corny lines, and bad metaphors and puns.  I mean, it wasn't totally free of them, because no SV script ever truly is.  So, thats to be expected.

This episode got a lot better as it moved along, because frankly, it didn't start out very well.  The first scene, between Tess and Lois felt like a throwback to last season.  That Lois would be upset about her article getting edited I understand, that she would think that Tess, who is working with Clark and Oliver at Watchtower now, would start suddenly be doing VRA puff pieces felt ridiculously OOC.  When Tess said that she didn't approve any of those articles, I'd expect Lois to ask who did, and whats going on, instead of stomping off in a huff, announcing that she just didn't have time for Tess' problems.

So, yeah, not a great start for the episode.

The Tess/Lionel scene worked OK, and then we got to the Chlollie scene.  With the two of them on a cot, in the middle of Watchtower.  The less said about this, the better.

Then its off to the Kent farm, and Clark coming home after a night of Blurring.  The scene that followed was my least favorite scene with Clark of the episode.  Look, I understand that Lois is a support system for Clark, and that she's passionate about defending the heroes.  All that stuff is admirable.  But Lois in perky cheerleader mode to doubting sad sack Clark is a scene I need to STOP seeing on this show.  I also had a big problem with the implication that Clark had no time for his mother, and apparently little awareness of what she was doing (as opposed to Lois).  I just don't see how this kind of writing serves Clark's character at all.  

It sure was great to have Annette O'Toole back again.  And I think she was used much better in this episode that she was in Hostage.  Martha using her position as a US Senator to become the public face for repealing the VRA works much better for me then Martha the Red Queen.

Clark and Martha's reunion at the hospital was a little stiffer then I would've liked, though I do like how it called back to fierce protectiveness Jonathan and Martha showed towards Clark.  I get a little sick to death of everyone needing to protect Clark on this show, but Martha is the only character that this feels absolutely right from.  I can easily imagine that no matter how tall he gets, or what he's wearing, or what he's doing, Martha will always see the baby they found in a cornfield who needed them when she looks at Clark.

Anyway, Clark whooshes out, and Chloe arrives *shudders*

The Martha/Chloe scene was probably my least favorite scene of the entire episode.  Now, I can get around the fact that Chloe and Martha were never shown as being particularly close.  Imaging some off screen closeness doesn't seem like a tremendous stretch.  But the conversation that ensues here is just a lot of unnecessary Chloe fluffing, and retcons.  First, we have Martha asking Chloe why she left Clark's side as though he were a 5 year old that needs to be watched every minute, lest he stick his finger in a light socket, or a fork in his eyeball.  Then Chloe, who has previously said that she left because the Dr Fate helmet told her to, and we were shown her leaving to trade herself for Oliver, is now saying that she left for the same reasons as Martha, because they "needed to leave for Clark to stand up on his own"  Do the writers not realize how insulting that is towards Clark?  This scene continues to make the angels cry by having Martha tell Chloe "Clark needs you as much as the world needs him" (funny, I didn't think Chloe's absence this season seemed to make much difference to Clark one way or the other), and then "I can't think of anyone better to watch over him".  I guess she's counting herself, and Lois in that not measuring up to Chloe thing..

Now, look, I don't object to Martha and Chloe sharing a scene.  And I don't even object to Martha and Chloe discussing how they both might have gone overboard in their attempts to protect Clark in the past.  But why this show has to go way overboard with stuff like this, to the point of making it seem like Martha is advocating for Chloe to be Clark's guardian angel, and alternative mommy,  constantly looking over his shoulder, it just beyond me.

And again, we have to wonder, like last week, if a character is even remotely aware of whats occured between Clark and Chloe over the last 2 years, because the stuff coming out of their mouths makes it hard to imagine they do.

The Martha/Lois scene that followed a short time later worked a lot better for me (until the last line).  This was a far more relaxed scene, and seeing as how Lois is Clark's fiancee, Martha giving her seal of approval was expected.  And it was also nice to see Martha offering Lois some encouragement and inspiration.  .

Clark and Oliver doing some investigating together worked quite well.  I'll probably never completely buy into these 2 as good friends, but lately the show has been doing a far better job of writing for them, so I can enjoy their scenes, and the relaxed vibe they've got going on.  And this scene allowed Clark to be smart by figuring out what the shooter was using for bullets, and who it was.  Of course, this wasn't brain surgery, but hey, on this show?  I'll take what I can get.

Turns out the shooter is Alexander, now grown to a teenage boy, and played rather magnificently in this episode by Lucas Grabeel.  Actually, I have to give the show kudos for casting on all the young Lexi.  They did a great job with it, and all were very believable.

Anyhow, Lionel has decided to try and rebuild his family dynasty over in this world, with his clone of a son, and Alexander seems to buy into it, but not before uttering one of my favorite lines of the episode..."I watched your body fall 40 stories...it was the greatest moment of my life"

I thought John Glover was amazing in this episode.  Far more restrained then his performance in Luthor, which made him seem far more intimidating and sinister.  

There was one line in this scene that had me going "Uh-Oh, did the SV writers forget their history again?", which was when Lionel said "You're my flesh and blood...my only son".  Somewhere, Lucas objects!  And Ian Somerhalder tells him to stuff a sock in it!

Did anyone wonder why Chloe felt she had to walk around in disguise?  Is she wanted for anything?  

Seeing Lois in determined reporter mode was cool.  I really think the show does her a disservice by not giving this aspect of her character far more attention.  Less of Lois in cheerleader mode, and more of Lois in reporter mode would work for me.

Where this episode really seemed to hit its stride for me was a series of scenes that all played out back-to-back.  First was the scene between Oliver-Lionel-Alexander.  Followed by the scene of Clark-Tess-Oliver at the DP.  And culminating in the Lionel/Alexander/Martha scene at the Mansion.

All 3 of these scenes featured really interesting character dynamics, and I thought each character was put to good use.  

Although alluding to Clark's continuing rift with AI Jor-El makes me wonder what the hell was the point of the Jor-El/Lara hologram in Abandoned when that didn't seem to lead anywhere, or change anything.  Ah well, moving along...

I really liked that Alexander didn't allow himself to be taken in my Lionel for very long.  If he truly does have all of Lex's memories, it would ring very false if he didn't retain that resentment and hatred he came to have for Lionel.  The line about how Lionel choose Clark in both worlds was very chilling, I thought.

One scene that didn't work for me as well as it could have was the confrontation in the barn between Clark-Tess-Alexander.  I really was hoping that they were going to allow Clark to win over Alexander, and Clark did get some input there, but just as much of that scene went to Tess.  I would've preferred for Tess to hang back until Clark told Alexander that he had her in his corner, and then I could see Tess coming forward and taking the gun.  As it was, I'm not really sure who had more of an impact of Alexander, Clark or Tess, and I think the show missed another opportunity to show us, on screen, Clark making that sort of difference.

I see there's some criticism out there for Clark hesitating to save Lionel, but I don't think he was hesitating at all.  He saved his mother first, made sure she was OK, gave her the little head nod of "Yeah, I'm going back for him", and then unceremoniously dumped Lionel on his ass.  I thought it worked.  

Now, obviously, one of the very big moments of this episode were the fan made videos that Clark got to witness due to the efforts of Lois and Chloe.  And they were very lovely and heartwarming to be sure.  Especially when you look at it in terms of fans expressing their love for the show itself, and Tom Welling's 10 year portrayal of Clark Kent.  I doubt anyone could not be moved by the clip from the solider.  

But here is the downside to those videos for me....why am I not seeing more of the stuff that those people were talking about?  Apparently, off screen, Clark is off inspiring people, but on screen, I'm seeing Clark needing constant reassurance and inspiration.  Off screen, Clark has won the hearts and minds of thousands of Metropolis citizens, but on screen, Clark is never shown saving people outside of his inner circle.  I feel a bit like the show has taken the approach that they can tell me about all these amazing things Clark is doing, but they are under no obligation to actually show me them on screen.  Instead, too much of Clark's on screen time seems to be him requiring an inordinate amount of  hand holding.

I want to watch Clark be more of that guy that could inspire those videos.  Don't tell me that "Clark is the light", SHOW ME why Clark is the light.  Here is where I think the show has failed this season.  

The scene between Clark and Martha in the kitchen was lovely, and Clark hugging his mom will never get old for me.  

The Watchtower scene with Clark, Chloe and Lois just felt ridiculous and unnecessary to me.  I think they were going for something symbolic there, but they missed the mark by a mile, and Oliver's absence from the scene was just odd.

Rumors have been circling for weeks now that SV would be introducing the character of Connor Kent, and I guess they did in the form of Alexander.  I really had no troubles at all understanding Tess' actions in that last scene.  Between knowing that Alexander is sick, and aging rapidly, probably dying, and also knowing that she's emotionally unstable and dangerous, its no stretch at all for me to think that Tess would believe that killing Alexander was not only the right thing to do to protect Clark (and everyone just protect Clark!), but also the merciful thing to do for Alexander.  Of course, it didn't quite work out the way she thought.  I just hope they don't have Tess keeping this knowledge from Clark for an extended period of time for some flimsy reason.  But, its SV, so I figure she will.

In any case, Cassidy Freeman sold the hell out of it, and she continues to be SV's most consistent performer this season..

Some random observations:

How did Clark get his jacket from when he whooshed out of the house to rush to the hospital, and arriving there?

"Who would've thought that there would be a day when heroes need this much protecting?"  Surely the show was being ironic with this line, right?  Because, yeah, who would've thought it?

Who else wants Amanda Waller to come back and boot Chloe out of her place?  Just me?

Apparently the angry citizens of Metropolis = 40 people.

How did Lois get her hands on Perry's old stuff?

"Bad banana jokes aside..." Oh yes, thank you!  See, the show can restrain itself every now and again.

Since when is Oliver a "convicted felon"?  Did I miss the trial and conviction?  Boy, offscreensville is a busy place!

I have to be honest, I'm just not feeling AM's performances here.  I don't really get any sense of warmth from her directed at anybody.




Comments

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(Anonymous)
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC)
After last week's disaster in Collateral, Beacon was a huge improvement in terms of how useful Clark was. It may not be perfect, but it was overall better. Clark starts to become proactive as soon as he heard shots, investigates the scene with Oliver, figures out on his own that it was clone Lex, his leadership has returned when he told Oliver and Tess not to do anything until he returned to the Fortress, then also figures out that Tess was looking for the Phantom Zone crystal that sent Slade to the Phantom Zone, got through to clone Lex with Tess' help, and rescued both Martha and alternate Lionel. I've felt this should have been the true start of the second half of the season instead of Collateral.

There were unnecessary scenes such as the Martha/ Chloe one where they continue to retcon Chloe's history with Martha because they were never close. Clark doesn't need a guardian angel, thank you very much. I agree that if he's the light and that people are affected by his work as the Blur, then show us that Clark is doing these things and not telling.

I also have a problem with Lois trying to be cheerleader as that is going overboard, but I do like what she was doing at the Daily Planet along with teaming up with Chloe. However, the Watchtower scene felt wrong as it should have been Oliver and Tess with Clark and not Lois and Chloe because Lois is not a JLA member and Chloe is running the Suicide Squad.

They continued Clark's trust issues in himself as it seems Lois' belief in him isn't enough. It took videos of people and the VRA repeal votes to allow Clark to regain his confidence and faith in himself. If this is the end of the VRA storyline, I feel that it has not connected with Clark enough than it should have. The real heroes of the VRA storyline were Lois, Chloe, and Martha.

The Luthor stuff was the highlight of the episode as we have Tess, Oliver, and Martha having their separate first meetings with alternate Lionel and clone Lex. Good thing clone Lex didn't buy into alternate Lionel's schemes for long. The end of the Luthor mansion was something I didn't see coming, but it makes sense as the show moves towards the Superman mythos. The Luthor Mansion represents the show's past.

It looks to me like clone Lex will become Superboy Conner Kent as we had a Superboy under our noses and we didn't see it.

I thought this would Henderson and Whitehead's final episode, but they tweeted that they will write a fourth episode this season which is good because out of all the writers this season, Henderson and Whitehead have shined the most.

Much, much better episode than Collateral and it should get better from here.

Vantheman77
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
I wonder if I'd be more critical of this episode if it didn't follow Collateral. I think, after last week, I was just hoping for something, anything, better then that.

But you are right that Clark did get some decent moments in this episode, and the writing for him was a huge step up (though not hardly where it should be).

For me, if they had just eliminated that first Clois scene, or changed the dialogue significantly, I would've been much happier. Not only did the first Clois scene come off as cheerleading, it also came off a little like lecturing. And Clark just came off....well, not great. I mean, it was nice that he said he was going to be out, saving people, whether they wanted him or not. But since when did Clark lose all hope in humanity?

I think, after thinking about it and talking to a good friend, that the biggest problem with the Watchtower scene was Clark being there. If they wanted to have a scene where Chloe turned back on Watchtower, that would be fine. But Clark's heroism should not be so closely tied to Watchtower. Having him stand proudly on the top of a building, the sun shining on him, would've made a far more important statement, I think. The Watchtower scene was clunky.

I thought the Luthor stuff was great. Highlight of the episode for me too.

With the spoilers we have for upcoming eps, I'm not ready to expect the show to get better from here. But I always hope it will.
costas22
Feb. 13th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
Hey Val. I don't know what options there are for these mood kitties, but try "annoyed like hell" for me, lol. Not with your review. Your review, as always, was fun to read and really insightful.

But Lois in perky cheerleader mode to doubting sad sack Clark is a scene I need to STOP seeing on this show.

It's become more than cheerleading. It's Lois telling a stubborn Clark how it is. As if he can't figure it out. That's more like mentoring imo. And while I agree that it wasn't as bad as Collateral, it was still not good to see. Notice how Oliver's faith in the people's vote didn't waver when he was speaking with Lionel? Why did Clark's? As the Blur videos said, his greatest strength is his character and his faith in others, isn't it? Like you say, how could Clark be the beacon for hope, if we see him lose his hope in people?

Clark and Oliver doing some investigating together worked quite well. I'll probably never completely buy into these 2 as good friends, but lately the show has been doing a far better job of writing for them, so I can enjoy their scenes, and the relaxed vibe they've got going on

Yep. I'll admit that when it comes to Clark, Clark/Tess and then Clark/Oliver scenes, are my favourites to watch this season.

but not before uttering one of my favorite lines of the episode

That was awesome. And Lionel's follow up about a father's love was great too. Reminded me of good old sarcastic Lionel. And speaking of good old Lionel, that scene with Martha was brilliant. Many S2 flashbacks there.

Seeing Lois in determined reporter mode was cool.

Absolutely. I wish we could see more of that. And I got a chuckle out of Chloe's disguise there. Nice to see Chlo-Lo scenes along those lines, when you consider how much fighting goes on between their respective fans at times.

One scene that didn't work for me as well as it could have was the confrontation in the barn between Clark-Tess-Alexander.

I can see why and I respect that. But this was actually my favourite scene in Beacon. In an episode where Tess lost everything and it became clear that the writers don't want to make her moral ambiguity go away, it was my only positive for her. Clark(on Green K all the time) and Tess got Alexander to see the error of his ways and at the same time, we heard how much they valued each other. That was a win for me, even though Tess shined more than Clark there. At least, it happens very rarely in their scenes...

I think they were going for something symbolic there, but they missed the mark by a mile, and Oliver's absence from the scene was just odd.

Yeah. What was also missing was the character that was Watchtower for most of this season. *Sigh* Clark should have reopened WT on his own imo. Just a small glimpse as to why he is the leader.

I really had no troubles at all understanding Tess' actions in that last scene.

Unfortunately, I did and still do. Really ruined Beacon for me. Tess is thinking about the cyanide, even before Alexander tells her that he is getting worse. Did she think about it because he was dangerous? Well, the barn scene with Clark and Alexander ended on an encouraging note. That the boy could learn to channel his anger. Plus, he was losing his memories, thus, his hate for Clark. So I fail to see what kind of misery Tess was putting him out of or who she was saving. After the first half of S10, I was hoping that Clark's influence on her would begin to show. And I was really hoping that we were done with Tess going to extremes to protect him. Sooner or later, I think Clark will find out. And who knows where it will lead their fragile relationship. By the way, remember when I asked whether Alexander took the antidote or not? Turns out he didn't and he is alive 3 months later, even though he had 6 weeks to live. Oh Smallville....

Sorry for going on and on. It was an episode that hit a raw nerve. And your reviews give me a good platform to vent a bit. :)
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
That was a win for me, even though Tess shined more than Clark there. At least, it happens very rarely in their scenes...

See, thats where the problem lies for me. I don't think she should've shined more then Clark. And though it is rare for Clark and Tess, it is NOT rare for the show overall. So, I wince whenever I see it, no matter who the character is.

I do have to say though, I continue to love Tom and Cassidy in scenes together.

OK, I hear ya about the last Tess/Alexander scene. But here's where I'm coming from. I think Tess is on the side of good, but I also think she hasn't completely overcome her instincts in achieving a goal. And I'm OK with that, because it makes her feel more real to me that she still struggles with what is "right". I think she clearly thought killing Alexander was the right thing, to protect Clark, and to spare Alexander. Of course, thats in complete opposition to Clark's morality (or, it should be, you never know what the writers are going to come up with for Clark).

I also think that the episode strongly hinted that Alexander was not well. Between Martha's comment in the mansion, and Alexander himself saying he was dying, I think we were supposed to believe that Alexander will not survive for long. And so, there's where I see Tess' rationale that it would me merciful to spare him the rapid aging and eventual death that was inevitable for him.

Of course, now its a different ballgame. I also hope that they don't use this to damage Clark and Tess' friendship, because that would be a real shame.

You can always vent here my friend. I understand what its like to have an episode rub you the wrong way.
(no subject) - costas22 - Feb. 13th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Feb. 13th, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
goodvibe
Feb. 13th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
part I
//But Lois in perky cheerleader mode to doubting sad sack Clark is a scene I need to STOP seeing on this show.//

And you know the absolute worse thing about these type of scenes, is that they aren't favorable to either character - each come off looking like one dimensional caricatures.

//but Martha is the only character that this feels absolutely right from.//

::nods::

//The Martha/Chloe scene was probably my least favorite scene of the entire episode.//

It was just odd, wasn't it? Again, in typical fashion of the writers, a scene designed and contrived solely to prop up a certain character, whatever the retcons and embellishments may come.

//The Martha/Lois scene that followed a short time later worked a lot better for me (until the last line).//

Heh, I love how you and I both zeroed in on that line. But aside from that, a nice, unforced scene that made complete sense because of the characters shared history and their potential future dynamic.

//I'll probably never completely buy into these 2 as good friends, but lately the show has been doing a far better job of writing for them, so I can enjoy their scenes, and the relaxed vibe they've got going on.//

This is the role Oliver works best for me in - anything other than lovesick, petulant Ollie, basically.

//I really think the show does her a disservice by not giving this aspect of her character far more attention. Less of Lois in cheerleader mode, and more of Lois in reporter mode would work for me.//

And you know, from my posts way back in the day, how much I've always liked seeing Lois in reporter mode - even when she wasn't a reporter I loved her scenes where she'd be investigating. So it really saddens me, personally, that we haven't seen enough of it in this, the final season. I thought S6 and 8, and to an extent S9 did a far better job of this---hell, in parts, even S7.
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Re: part I
And you know the absolute worse thing about these type of scenes, is that they aren't favorable to either character - each come off looking like one dimensional caricatures.

Yes! Thank you. Thats what I'm trying to say.

I think with what this show has done over the years, its just tiresome to hear lines like "you inspire him" or "he can't do it without you" or "he needs you as much as the world needs him". ENOUGH! Its beyond DONE now. We get it, Clark can't put his pants on without the support of the people around him. The point has been made, made again, and then made one more time. Now, can we move onto a confident, resilient, determined Clark who believes in his purpose, and has faith in it? Because that would be lovely at this point.
goodvibe
Feb. 13th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
part II
//As it was, I'm not really sure who had more of an impact of Alexander, Clark or Tess, and I think the show missed another opportunity to show us, on screen, Clark making that sort of difference.//

The scene worked for me actually, I think specifically ::because:: it was Tess, on whom Clark really has made such a significant impact, who happened to say what she did. And then to have Clark affirm that by mentioning Tess herself - it felt like a natural sequence of reactions.

//I thought it worked.//

Clark-going-back-to-save-Lionel was actually one of my favorite scenes of the ep.

About the videos, I only got to know from, I think LaT' review, that these were real fans - I have to say, I think it's incredibly sweet. Having said that, boy do I agree that we really ought to actually be seeing more of the Blurs impact too, and not just hearing about it. Especially when it comes off a craptastic ep like last weeks.

About the Tess/Alexander scene right at the end, I think it was terrific - emotionally charged and powerful, and the shades of ambiguity from Tess is exactly one of the reasons it worked for me. Because yes, she's playing for the good guys now, and her world view has altered, but the focus of any/all change is and will always only still be Clark, and the need to protect him. So, while I don't think it was right of her to decide to kill Alexander, I could understand how she came to that conclusion, and this is what continues to keep Tess an interesting character - her layers.
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
Re: part II
It actually occurred to me last night, while talking to a friend, that 2 of Clark's best moments this season were him showing compassion towards Cat Grant in Shield, and him showing compassion towards Tess in Luthor. Because those moments where we get to see Clark's being that sort of understanding and compassionate friend to others, even when they aren't his inner circle (like Cat) has become a rarity.

So, I do think Tess as a character has been used in a positive manner in regards to Clark.

But, yeah, I still wish that scene belonged more to Clark then Tess.

I think I really appreciate that the show still retains some shades of gray with Tess, and doesn't do backflips trying to tell us that she's the most awesomest, bestest, more righteous person there is (see: Chloe). Tess has been reformed by her alliance with Clark, but she hasn't quite overcome her former ways. I really think thats one of the reasons that Tess is so fascinating to me, and in fact, is the most interesting character on the show right now.

So, to sum all that up, I agree with you. LOL
chatchien
Feb. 13th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
Clark's girlfriends have always been obsessives. Lana and her Flat Parents and the "Secrets and Lies", Lois and her "Hip Hip Hooray Clark", and Alicia and her obsession with Clark.

I don't mind the Lois Flying Buttresses of Clark Support, I just wish that it didn't take up so much time. I do see what the writers are attempting to do with all the Clark reassurance though. Clark isn't Superman yet, he is still the Blur and they have to get him to Superman before the end. Superman is supremely confident and that is why the public is confident in him.

Superman has to quit blurring and just stand there for all to look at and admire him. And he is admirable in oh so many ways. You know what my fan testimonial Video would have been about---oh those eyes, those lips, that butt which was on gorgeous display with that skin tight, long sleeved, gray T shirt---oh my! And Ollie didn't take his shirt off; so I had no distractions from Clark.

But I digress, we did see Clark get the OK from Martha to make Clark Kent the disguise (although I don't really care for Clark as the disguise; he is the one whom I know and whom I have been watching for the last ten years, not Superman). And Clark did tell her that he would slow down and show himself. Martha's boy Clark is growing up and by showing himself; he is taking on his real responsibilities---no more graffiti on walls (and Alexander might be the one to thank for that, after seeing Alexander's graffiti, Clark has become un-enamored of his own).

In short (and I am getting to the point sooner than Some::SV writers::), the confidence is what gets Superman to the tights and flights and the cape and standing on top of the Daily Planet emblem with his hands on his hips and watching his Metropolis in the glorious sunlight. You gotta be confident as a man or Superman to wear those tights.
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
I do see what the writers are attempting to do with all the Clark reassurance though. Clark isn't Superman yet, he is still the Blur and they have to get him to Superman before the end. Superman is supremely confident and that is why the public is confident in him.

I see what they are trying to do too, but I think they are dragging this out too long. Because the longer you keep hitting this beat, the more and more unbelievable its going to be that Clark is just going to hit a switch at the end of the season, and all this dithering, and indecision is going to be gone. The time for turning the corner was Homecoming, I think. Now, it feels repeatative to me.

I think its important for the show to start really writing eps with Clark in mind, which I gotta tell you, I don't think they do all that often. I think there's a certain conceit with the writing that "Well, we know where he ends up", so they don't feel like they really need to take care with him like they should.
huzzlewhat
Feb. 13th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Alexander seems to buy into it, but not before uttering one of my favorite lines of the episode..."I watched your body fall 40 stories...it was the greatest moment of my life"

This was a great line, not only in the context of the episode, but because it really underscores just what that moment was for Lex — the real Lex. That he killed his father, and watched him die, could just be run-of-the-mill angst, and even (in the context of the show) forgivable, because of what Lionel put him through. But that he enjoyed it so damn much? That is the final transformation point, and I love that they put it into words, even if Michael Rosenbaum wasn't there to actually say them. :-)

Where this episode really seemed to hit its stride for me was a series of scenes that all played out back-to-back. First was the scene between Oliver-Lionel-Alexander. Followed by the scene of Clark-Tess-Oliver at the DP. And culminating in the Lionel/Alexander/Martha scene at the Mansion.

What I really enjoyed about those scenes is seeing actors and characters play out of the expected — and by now, almost rote — combinations. It makes everything feel fresh.

jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
I was very, very glad that they didn't go for Alexander being overcome with the warm fuzzies for Lionel. The idea that killing his father is something Lex considers a triumph feels far more right to me.

What I really enjoyed about those scenes is seeing actors and characters play out of the expected — and by now, almost rote — combinations. It makes everything feel fresh.

Yes, exactly, thats how I felt too. It was mixing it up a bit, and the actors in those scenes all really got to shine. I didn't really notice it the first time I watched, but upon the rewatch it really hit me how successful those back-to-back scenes were.
miss_tress
Feb. 13th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
I also had a big problem with the implication that Clark had no time for his mother, and apparently little awareness of what she was doing (as opposed to Lois).
And he works at a newspaper for cripes sake! Does he never read the blasted thing?

Did anyone wonder why Chloe felt she had to walk around in disguise? Is she wanted for anything?
That was my question. She didn't go incognito to the hospital and I think just as many people would be able to recognize her there.

jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
Does Clark still work at the newspaper? It feels like the show has forgotten that. I never expected them to spend a ton of time on that aspect of Clark's character, but I think they've shoved it way too far into the background.

Chloe is...*sigh* I just don't get it.
(no subject) - miss_tress - Feb. 13th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
awehla
Feb. 13th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
I liked this ep a lot more than last week. Perry could have had some old stuff stored at the Planet from when he worked there but more likely Martha probably gave it to Lois.

Of course - Alexander being impervious to the needle could mean he is a clone of Clark and Lex together so he could be Smallville's version of Connor Kent. I hadn't even thought of that. I just thought it was going to be more Smallville bollocks.

Smallville is doing too much telling and not enough showing which is poor writing - I learnt in creative writing at uni that showing not telling is pretty basic.

Most obvious to me this season is you can see Tom Welling is too busy with Hellcats or Executive Producing Smallville. He doesn't seem to be on screen that much and when he is on screen doesn't say much. So it's like they've cut down the lines for him to learn and given him less to do so he can cope better. Clark never said much but he seems to say even less now but at least he doesn't talk in cultural references/sitcom one liner speak like some of the others.

Lisa
x
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
I guess that Martha could've given her the stuff, but Lois suddenly having the box felt a bit contrived. But, it was minor and forgiveable. Just one of those little SV-isms one needs to deal with.

Smallville is doing too much telling and not enough showing which is poor writing - I learnt in creative writing at uni that showing not telling is pretty basic.

WORD! Its really a puzzlement to me over the last few years when it comes to what they deem important enough to show, and what they deem not important enough to bother with. Like, how the hell was Harvest a necessary ep? But Clark out there as a The Blur, saving random citizens, making a difference in their lives? Offscreensivlle. Amazing.

I really do wonder if Clark being so underwritten so often this season is connected to him just being so busy, he doesn't have time to learn a ton of lines.
(no subject) - awehla - Feb. 14th, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
gildinwen
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
I did like that Clark tried to reach out to Alexander and thought that though the emphasis was on Tess, ( Because y'know Clark was in pain from the Kryptonite) her reaching out to Alexander, seemed to be an extention of Clark's reaching out to her.

If that makes any sence.

Chloe still bugs me, I was ready to throw something at the t.v in that scene with Martha, but I was glad that the Beacon reference wasn't all about her.

I really hope that the signs of her hubris will have a payoff. There are hints (small as they may be) the writers know that she's shady but don't write that into the script for fear of alienating a "large" contingent of fans.
jeannev
Feb. 13th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
That makes a lot of sense, and I'm sure thats what they were going for. I think I've just gotten to a point where my tolerance for these things is at a all time low.

Chloe bugs me a lot too, but I knew this was how it was going to be.

Honestly, I really have no sense where the writers are coming from, or what they believe. I find their writing so uneven and contradictory. I just don't understand why you spend so much time writing a character, or a relationship, a certain way, and then turn around and try to say "Nope, nothing to see here, forget you saw it, it wasn't what you thought..."
ladygawain
Feb. 14th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
Fantastic review. Last week I took a holiday from sanity and literally only watched Collateral for the shipping, no critical faculties employed at all because it WOULD. BE. TOO. FRUSTRATING. I just kind of gave up taking it seriously at all. But this week, my feelings pretty much echo yours. It's a case of Smallville doing some interesting things, even great things but the end-product is just kind of disappointing - whelming and nothing more.

I appreciated Clark a lot more than I did last week, as an individual, despite the scant screen time but again. This really needs to be the last of the pep-talk, pom-pom, cheer on moments. At this point, Clark should have built enough internal character strength to figure these things out. And Lois, she has a job, she should be doing it - like you, I loved seeing her in reporter-mode here. Also, she's a multi-dimensional character (as folks said upthread), reducing her to Clark's ever-present cheerleader while perhaps well-intentioned is also boring and doesn't seem to allow her for any room to be real as an individual. She just exists to lift up Clark. And I get that but she's also a person in her own right and I'd like to see more of that.

*Aside*: Tom Welling was looking fine as hell in this episode. Seriously, the gray shirt at the end, my jaw hit the floor. How does he do it?

Moving on, I loved the videos - I also really enjoyed Martha's speech. And wished, once again, that we'd see a) more of the VRA storyline and b) more of how Clark has become this person, as in more saves that aren't tied to his inner circle, or even Tess and Cat, despite my love for his stories with them but regular people on the street. But I suppose until he shows his face there are limitations. I dunno, it seems an awkward thing to do while he's the Blur, to SHOW the impact he's had; the immediate 'Superman effect', in the moment, right there - because he's still in the shadows but then when they go off and tell us, the effect is somewhat cheapened.

Chloe and Martha, just confused. When did she become Checkmate's queen - as a comics fan that's just ludicrous to me tbh? And the revisionism was nonsensical as ever.

Great moments but also not-so great ones. I have few Clark hopes for next week's episode. Luckily I ship Chlollie, so I'm down to see that part of it, but I'm preparing myself to be ooked and annoyed.

jeannev
Feb. 14th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
It's a case of Smallville doing some interesting things, even great things but the end-product is just kind of disappointing - whelming and nothing more.

Yeah, thats a pretty good way of summing it up. But how sad is it that I'll take it, because I don't expect anything much better?

I know that Clark in the comics does need a cheerleader from time to time. But I don't think its needed in every issue of the comics, so why does it need to be an element of nearly every episode of SV at this point? Also, at some point, we're going to need to see Clark dig a little deep, and find a way to be his own source of strength and motivation. These qualities are essential to believe that he's going to become Superman.

Honestly, I think putting Lois in cheerleader mode, and sort of ignoring her own rather renowned ambitions is also making her out to be a little too perfect. And my impression was that part of the appeal of Lois is how NOT perfect she is.

I think at this point, the show has made their point that Lois is very, very supportive, and that Clark could not be Superman without her. I think its time to move on from that now.

I think they could've given us some impression of how Clark might be having an impact on the citizens of Metropolis just by showing scenes here and there of Clark saving the average citizen. Like, think back to last season, when Clark saved the lady from being attacked. Or when he saved the little kid from the bullies. This season, we have gotten none of that at all. Its like they decided that they just didn't need to bother with that anymore, and I think thats such an essential part of Clark's story.

And Tom Welling is just ridiculously handsome. No matter what else is going on with SV, Tom always bring the Pretty on a consistant basis. God bless 'em!
wingster55
Feb. 14th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
Shocker: I didn't find Chloe annoying or her scene with Martha bad.

I don't know where they're taking the clone business now nor where they're taking Tess..

I'm also upset the Luthor mansion is burned to the ground. Shed tears and everything.

For AM..i think her acting is fine but nothing extraordinary..we'll see next week with her plotline.
wingster55
Feb. 14th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Also I found the videos mostly heavy handed..didn't care for them much.
jeannev
Feb. 14th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
I think how one feels about Chloe as a character and about her actions over the last 2 seasons is going to impact heavily on how her scenes now hit you. I just don't think there's any reason for the show to imply that Clark needs Chloe so much, or that no one is better equipped to look after him. At this point, that sort of fluffing isn't necessary. If they wanted Martha to fluff up Chloe, they could've done it in a way that didn't make it look like Chloe needs to watch over Clark like he's a small child with a sharp object.

It is strange how they are getting rid of sets, isn't it? I mean, wasn't the show already awfully short on sets? I think they're done to 3 or 4 at this point.
tasabian
Feb. 14th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
The first scene, between Tess and Lois felt like a throwback to last season. That Lois would be upset about her article getting edited I understand, that she would think that Tess, who is working with Clark and Oliver at Watchtower now, would start suddenly be doing VRA puff pieces felt ridiculously OOC.
I thought at first they were pretending to still be enemies, as a cover but I guess that wasn't the case? That whole sequence with no one telling Tess "er, undead Lionel is in your office!" was quite silly.

I see there's some criticism out there for Clark hesitating to save Lionel, but I don't think he was hesitating at all. He saved his mother first, made sure she was OK, gave her the little head nod of "Yeah, I'm going back for him", and then unceremoniously dumped Lionel on his ass.
I thought the rueful little exchange of glances between Clark & Martha was perfect & funny.

Don't tell me that "Clark is the light", SHOW ME why Clark is the light.
I definitely miss seeing Clark rescuing strangers - we saw a lot more rescues in his high school years!

Edited at 2011-02-14 07:42 pm (UTC)
jeannev
Feb. 15th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm guessing from Tess' expression that she wasn't expecting Lois in her face like that.

I also thought the non-verbal's between Clark and his mother were perfect. I never doubted for a second that he would go back and save Lionel, and I don't think Martha did either.

Oh, we definitely saw Clark rescuing more people in the early seasons. It appears they are bored with that whole "Clark saving people" thing now, unless its someone who is close to him. Its a shame, because I think they are leaving off screen an essential part of Clark's character.
svfan01
Feb. 15th, 2011 07:17 am (UTC)
I thought it was an ok but unspectacular episode myself. To sum it up in one line, the Lionel stuff was great, the Clark stuff not so much.

I think I generally have a higher opinion of S10 then many but the show has lost me since Icarus. We basically had 3 average(Icarus, Beacon) to below average(Collateral) episodes now in a row. We are starting to get way to much Clark is down, depressed, needs motivating etc type moments for my tastes(I thought this season was good in this regard with the exception of Supergirl and to a lesser extent Lazarus).

I honestly have no clue why the producers feel the constant need to always go back to Clark is down as a form to create drama on the show(since like S3), it just gets very repetitive and tiring. While I don't think S10 downer Clark is as bad as many previous seasons, it just makes him look bad when he can't get past little things he should have many seasons ago. It seems like the producers have no clue how to make a storyline unless Clark is brooding over something(or in the case of S6 someone. lol)

"I feel a bit like the show has taken the approach that they can tell me about all these amazing things Clark is doing, but they are under no obligation to actually show me them on screen. Instead, too much of Clark's on screen time seems to be him requiring an inordinate amount of hand holding."

I guess a large part of this is due to budget. Much cheaper to have 2 people talking on a set then set up a scene of Clark saving people. that being said creative thinking could set up some scenarios that involve Clark being heroic that could be done cheaply

jeannev
Feb. 15th, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
I really believe that TPTB have very little clue as to what would make almost everyone happy in regards to Clark. Honestly, would there be anyone out there that would be unhappy if Clark was more positive and self-assured? Would there be unhappy people if we saw saving Joe Public every now and again? Would people be poo-poo'ing the season if we saw Clark delivering peptalks to others, and providing strong emotional support to them?

I mean, filter out the Clark haters, because nothing pleases them. I'm talking about most viewers here.

I think in creating all this drama, they also create a very uneven characterization for Clark. We have him here, all "oh, the people will go with the VRA, we don't stand a chance", then we have him in Doomsday, writing a letter about how much he believes in the public to be heroes, and back in S6, we have Martha Kent telling him "you'll never give up on anyone", which was negated a few episodes later, when Clark told Kara that there was no hope for the Luthors.

I mean, obviously, I'm jumping around through the seasons, but I think if one was more meticulous, and went ep by ep, you'd see some wild characterization, with frequent nonsensical ups and downs, and I think that all amounts to a character that becomes more and more difficult to connect with.

And this doesn't just apply to Clark, but rather the whole show. At this point, I struggle with deep feelings of ambivalence for all the characters (except maybe Tess). And that wouldn't bother me so much if Clark wasn't one of them.

I don't know. I really think the budget would allow a few random saves sprinkled throughout the season. If they have enough money for matrix Chloe, and enough money for all these guest stars, and enough money for Clark flying in a delusion, then I think its just a matter of not deeming it important enough to allocate funds towards it.
(no subject) - svfan01 - Feb. 15th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
tjw_jaypat
Feb. 15th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
Great review! As you have addressed the big stuff perfectly well as always, let me just comment on a small thing:

>How did Clark get his jacket from when he whooshed out of the house to rush to the hospital, and arriving there?<

It was not only that. The entire scene bothered me. When Clark sped off from his living room, I was expecting that Lois would actually see him run in on the crime scene on her TV screen. Usually he is this fast. Yet for some strange reason he arrives at the hopsital. Now it takes a while to get someone, even someone important, to the hospital. When Clark arrived Martha had already received medical attention, and she was on the phone with Lois. That is, I´d say at least 45 min must have passed, if not more. So what on earth did Clark do during all this time? A scene like this makes sense for normal people who have to get into their car and drive through heavy traffic to get to the hospital. But it doesn´t make sense for Clark.

Worse, when Clark was talking to his mom in the hospital room, the door was wide open and the security guy was standing outside. Yet they talked about secret Blur things. I really wonder why nobody notices such things while they shoot those scenes...

You´ve said it all about telling rather than showing. It is telling indeed that an episode that is entitled Beacon, features its beacon protagonist only for 16 minutes whereas the other 2/3 of the episode are filled with Luthor stuff. Talk about priorities... :(
jeannev
Feb. 15th, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
Wow, you are totally on the money there. I didn't even think about the time lapse between Clark whooshing off, and him arriving at the hospital, but you're absolutely right. The sloppiness of this show drives me crazy!

Honestly, the first Clark/Martha scene didn't do much for me. While I understand Martha's willingness to do anything for her son, her basically telling him "I'm willing to die for you, just like your dad" seemed a little too zealous for me. Not to mention what a gigantic guilt trip to drop on Clark's head. Again!

As I said, I really think the whole first act of this episode needed to be reworked quite a bit. I think the only scene that worked was Tess/Lionel. As the episode went on, it got much better, but a lot of the problems in this episode exist in the first 10-15m of it. Tess/Lois, Chlollie in the cot, Lois cheerleading Clark the clueless sadsack, Martha/Chloe, Clark/Martha at the hospital. All of those scenes were problematic for me in different ways.

This episode was a very "ensemble" episode. Its Tom's lowest screen total of the season. I was suprised to Torwolf over at K-Site having Clark at 17m. We're usually right in line with each other, if not exact. I'm not sure where he got the extra minute from. I might go back and redo this ep just to make sure I didn't make an error.

(no subject) - tjw_jaypat - Feb. 15th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Feb. 15th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
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